Stanisław Ryłko

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His Eminence
Stanisław Cardinal Ryłko
Cardinal-Archpriest, Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore
Appointed 28 December 2016
Predecessor Santos Abril y Castelló
Other posts Cardinal-Deacon of Sacro Cuore di Cristo Re
Ordination 30 March 1969
by Karol Józef Wojtyła (later Pope John Paul II)
Consecration 6 January 1996
by Pope John Paul II
Created Cardinal 24 November 2007
by Pope Benedict XVI
Rank Cardinal-Deacon
Personal details
Born (1945-07-04) 4 July 1945 (age 71)
Andrychów, Poland
Nationality Polish
Denomination Roman Catholic
Previous post
  • Titular Archbishop of Novica (1995–2007)
  • Secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Laity (1995–2003)
  • President of the Pontifical Council for the Laity (2003–2016)
Motto Lux Mea Christus
(Christ, My Light)
Coat of arms {{{coat_of_arms_alt}}}
Styles of
Stanisław Cardinal Ryłko
Coat of arms of Stanisław Ryłko.svg
Reference style His Eminence
Spoken style Your Eminence
Informal style Cardinal

Stanisław Ryłko (born 4 July 1945) is a Polish Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. He held positions in the Roman Curia beginning in 1987 and was president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity from 2003 to 2016. He was elevated to the cardinalate in 2007. He has been Archpriest of the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore since 28 December 2016

Besides his native Polish, the Cardinal speaks Italian, English, and German.

Early life and pastoral work[edit]

Stanisław Ryłko was born in Andrychów to Władysław and Aurelia Ryłko. He has two siblings: a brother, Władysław (d. 2007), and a sister, Jadwiga. He graduated from the Lyceum of Maria Skłodowska-Curie in Andrychów in 1963 before entering the seminary in Kraków, later obtaining his licentiate in moral theology. Ryłko then studied at the Pontifical Gregorian University, where he earned his doctorate in social sciences. He was ordained to the priesthood by Cardinal Karol Wojtyła (later Pope John Paul II) on 30 March 1969 in Wawel Cathedral, and then did pastoral work in Poronin until 1971.

Ryłko served as vice-rector of the Kraków seminary before teaching practical theology at the Pontifical Theological Academy of Kraków. He was secretary of the lay apostolate commission of the Polish Episcopal Conference as well. In 1987, he returned to Rome and was charged with responsibility for the section for the Catholic Youth Work of the Pontifical Council for the Laity; during this time, he organized of the World Youth Day events of 1989 and 1991. He was transferred to the Polish section of the Vatican Secretariat of State in 1992.


On 20 December 1995, Pope John Paul II appointed Ryłko secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Laity and Titular Bishop of Novica. He received his episcopal consecration on 6 January 1996 in St. Peter's Basilica from John Paul II, with Archbishops Giovanni Re and Jorge Mejía serving as co-consecrators. As Secretary, Ryłko served as the second-highest official of that dicastery under Eduardo Francisco Pironio and James Stafford.

He was named President of the Pontifical Council for the Laity on 4 October 2003. Upon the death of John Paul II on 2 April 2005, and Pope Benedict XVI confirmed him in that position on 21 April 2004.


In the consistory of 24 November 2007, Pope Benedict created him Cardinal-Deacon of Sacro Cuore di Cristo Re.[1] Ryłko remains eligible to participate in papal conclaves until his eightieth birthday on 4 July 2025.

On 12 June 2008 he was appointed by Benedict as a member of several congregations in the Roman Curia: the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, Congregation for Bishops and the Pontifical Commission for Latin America.[2] On 5 January 2011 he was named one of the first members of the new Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelisation.[3] On 10 March 2015, Pope Francis appointed Rylko a Member of the Pontifical Committee for International Eucharistic Congresses.[4][5]

He was one of the cardinal electors who participated in the 2013 papal conclave that elected Pope Francis.

His tenure as head of the Pontifical Council on the Laity ended on 1 September 2016 when its functions were taken over by the new Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life.[6]

On 28 December 2016, Pope Francis appointed Rylko Archpriest of the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore.[7]


In 2008, in an address to the plenary assembly of the Congregation for the Laity, Ryłko said that the time has come for Christians to free themselves from their false inferiority complex against the so-called secular world, to be courageous disciples of Christ.[8]

External links[edit]


Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Paul Josef Cordes
Secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Laity
Succeeded by
Josef Clemens
Preceded by
James Stafford
President of the Pontifical Council for the Laity
Office abolished
Preceded by
Santos Abril y Castelló
Archpriest of the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore